Our Lady of Hope Church historical district in Springfield upheld by US Court of Appeals

Our Lady of Hope Church historical district in Springfield upheld by US Court of Appeals

We will have more to say about this decision shortly. 
the decision can be found by following the link below:


Peter Goonan of the Republican newspaper in Springfield reported these key points:

The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the city’s creation of a historic district more than three years ago that was aimed at protecting the Our Lady of Hope Church from demolition or exterior harm. 

The ruling stated that the diocese’s challenge of the district was premature, in part because there has been no proposal for reuse of the church or exterior changes, and no proof of substantial harm by its designation as a historic district. 

“It’s definitely good news,” Springfield Historical Commission Chairman Ralph Slate said Monday. “I am happy the court affirmed the right of the city to include religious properties in historic districts.” 

City Solicitor Edward M. Pikula said the ruling allows the city “to protect an important historical, cultural and architectural jewel.” 

The Historical Commission and many residents and parishioners had urged the council to designate the church as a historic district in 2009, as the church was faced with closure. The proponents said the church merited protection given its unique Italian Renaissance architecture in that neighborhood, and its status as a historic symbol in the Hungry Hill area of Springfield since built in 1925. 

U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor upheld the single-property historic district in a January 2011 ruling, which was followed by the appeal and ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals. 

Slate said that churches are among the most architecturally, historically significant buildings in the city. 

The Court of Appeals stated in part there is no evidence “that suppression of Catholic religious practices was the object of the ordinance.” In addition, without knowing what the Bishop can or cannot do to the building, absent any application, “we cannot know to what extent, if any (the Bishop) will suffer from a burden on its religious practice.”